As an intent observer of the phenomenon of instant news, I continually am amazed at the acceleration occuring. How can things get any faster? When does “instant” become “faster than instant”. Maybe we need to talk about warpspeed news, or nanonews or something.
Here are a couple of more examples of this acceleration. I mentioned Twitter being used as a reporting device during Hurricane Ike. Since then I have seen one company using Twitter as kind of bulletin board for Ike information–for marketing purposes.
Most of the networks and cable shows now are actively enlisting citizen journalists as part of their journalist staff. ireport on CNN and ureport on FOX are two examples. CBS also has CBSEyemobile now they have provided an app for the outrageously popular iphone (popular with me too I might add). Add one more–the most popular new application at Techcrunch’s Demopit was something called iamnews.com. As a news site for citizen journalists it has ambitions of taking on AP and Reuters.
I’ve spoken at many conferences on the emergence of citizen journalists. I still get scoffed at to some degree with the common (over 45 anyway) notion that this is kids stuff, a bunch of pajama wearing angry political pundit wannabes, and trouble makers who spend their days making up lies and posting them on websites. Yes, that is all true. But the power and impact of these tens of millions speaking up–some more loudly than others–has a combined effect of transforming the public information environment.
The consequences for organizations looking to operate successfully in this environment are huge. I keep coming back to the same mantra in dealing with these issues: speed, direct communication and transparency. If your organization is not prepared to engage in the public sphere with these three things driving it, somebody’s iphone may just get you.